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Thamnophis sirtalis

Common Name: Common Garter Snake
Thamnophis sirtalis
Thamnophis sirtalis

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Thamnophis
Species: Thamnophis sirtalis

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Common garter snakes are thin, with keeled scales, and grow to be around 18-51 inches in length. They are variable in color, including green, blue, brown, yellow. They have a pale yellow strip down the center of its body and sides covered in checkered or spotted dots with a yellow line below.

Habitat & Range

Common garter snakes are found in woods, fields, and prairies to streams, marshes, and ponds. They are common throughout the Southeast and can be found in most parts of North America.


Common garter snakes are most active during the day and can handle a colder range of temperatures compared to other snakes. During the winter, they hibernate in large groups, but can sometimes be found basking on rocks during milder winter days.

They prey on frogs, salamanders, and fish. When threatened or provoked, they release a foul-smelling musk and will thrash violently to escape.

Life Cycle

Common garter snakes mate in the spring after emerging from their winter dens. Females do not lay eggs and give birth to live young. Typically, a litter will range between 10 to 40 young snakes and they will disperse and receive no parental care straight after birth.

Featured image by Chrisine Schmidt.


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